£65m farm sales point to robust market – Galbraith

Property consultants CKD Galbraith said the commercial farmland market in Scotland will remain robust throughout 2017 “given the healthy levels of interest witnessed in the previous 12 months.”

CKD Galbraith said that in the 12 months to December 2016, more than 60 farms totaling more than 20,000 acres with a value in excess of £65 million have been sold or are currently under offer through the firm.

“Of notable interest is the increasing number of private sales taking place throughout Scotland and the firm now has a growing number of clients on its books looking to buy,” said CKD Galbraith.

“This is despite relatively poor commodity prices experienced over the last two years and the political uncertainty placed on the industry throughout 2016 with Brexit, Land Reform and the confusion over CAP reforms and late BPS subsidy payments.”

CKD Galbraith said it took one of the largest portfolios of farms and farmland in Scotland to the open market last year.

The Pitlochie Holding, a portfolio of farms, land and residential properties, marketed on behalf of CG Greig (Farms) Ltd based in Fife, was marketed for sale as a whole at offers over £14.295 million or as individual farm sales.

“With the exception of the cottages at Pitlochie and Westfield of Pitlochie, all farms within the portfolio have either now been sold or missives have been concluded to existing farming businesses,” said the firm.

Another big deal completed by CKD Galbraith in 2016 was the sale of Brathinch Farm in Angus, a 536.6-acre arable farm and established pig breeding business, along with a six-bedroom farmhouse and four cottages, which sold in excess of the £4.75 million asking price.

CKD Galbraith partner Simon Brown said: “Headline figures are still being achieved for land in parts of East Lothian, Angus and Fife with the Aberdeenshire market slowing down as a result of the fall in oil prices.

“Until fairly recently, some of the more marginal arable and grassland farms in Ayrshire have been depressed by a drop in milk prices.

“However, in recent months we have experienced an increased interest in land and farms for dairy following an increase in milk prices during the latter half of 2016.”

CKD Galbraith Duncan Barrie said: “Productive bare arable land and hill ground suitable for planting remain in high demand and often attracting a premium at closing date.

“Planting land still attracts buyers from south of the border and other European countries who continue to identify value for money.

“Although we have witnessed an element of caution, within some sectors of agriculture over the past few years, interest at all price levels and for different types and quality of land remains.

“We predict healthy competition within the Scottish land market throughout 2017 due to the associated tax relief, historically low interest rates and farmers keen to expand their existing operations.

“We believe, these factors will result in bare land values being maintained throughout the next 12 to 18 months.”